Collinson has become the first private provider to offer the mandatory Covid-19 tests currently required for all arrivals into the UK.
It means that travellers can now opt to take the first of their two required RT-PCR tests as soon as they arrive into Heathrow, Manchester, Stansted, London City, Luton or East Midlands airports.
This is known as the ‘Day 2’ test, although in reality it can be taken at any point up to the second day after arrival.
From 0400 today (March 11) airlines and Border Control can accept Passenger Locator Forms with Collinson’s unique customer reference code, which must be completed before passengers check-in for flights to England.
The ‘Day 8’ test must be carried out by the same provider, and Collinson is currently the only private provider accredited to offer the mandatory testing for arrivals. The package of two tests costs £198, which is slightly cheaper than the £210 currently being charged by the NHS.
It is not compulsory for travellers to take their Day 2 test on arrival into the airport terminal – they can instead opt to visit a drive-through facility, including the new Collinson test centre which has now opened at the O2 Arena. Government guidelines allow those quarantining to travel directly to and from an in-person testing centre in order to take their required tests.
Collinson said that it hopes that by passengers taking the first of the two required tests at the airport on arrival, “it can begin to track results and compare them to the Day 8 test in order to build valuable data that can be used to help encourage the Government to shorten the ‘Test to Release’ quarantine period this summer”.
Collinson first unveiled Covid-19 arrivals testing centres at Heathrow T2 and T5 back in August last year, but it has taken until now for the firm to be accredited to offer the mandatory Government testing for all incoming passengers.
Commenting on the news David Evans, Joint CEO, Collinson, said:
“We’ve been working with the rest of the aviation and travel industry over the past year to create the most flexible, convenient testing processes for passengers coming in and out of the UK, and that’s because we’ve always known airport testing will be at the heart of travel recovery.
“This green light today makes us the only provider who can offer testing as soon as the passenger arrives at the airport – from day zero – and it means we can help alleviate some of the burden from the NHS, which is currently the only organisation running the mandatory testing for arrivals.
“Let’s hope this marks the first step in travel recovery, with the data gathered from these tests helping to inform the Government’s roadmap, to be announced next month. Testing at the border is, after all, the best way to get passengers back in the air again, but to do so safely and while limiting spread of the virus.”